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Bridled Tern males will carry a small fish or a stick for a future nest while courting females.

Description: During the breeding season, the Bridled Tern has dark brown wings, with a white underbody and a black tail and capped head. Otherwise its plumage is similar except the cap is dark brown with white spotting and speckling to the crown and eyes. Juvenile birds are very similar in colour to adults but are duller. The Bridled Tern has a wingspan of 77–81 cm.

Diet: The Bridled Tern is a carnivore. It eats squid and small surface-schooling fish such as pilchards. They have also been recorded feeding on insects at the water’s surface.

In the wild: Bridled Terns live in flocks, travelling in groups of 2–30 pairs and migrating across great distances. They breed at different times of the year, depending on where they live, however most breed annually. During the mating season, males carry a stick or fish while flying to attract a mate. Once a female shows interest, they land and the pair bow, strut and turn in circles as part of courtship. They choose sheltered nesting sites, such as under a ledge or in a small limestone cave. Both parents incubate the egg.

Threats: Oil spills, habitat destruction, human disturbance and predators such as foxes and cats threaten the Bridled Tern.

Did you Know?

A Bridled Tern parent regurgitates fish to feed its young until the juvenile is old enough to leave the nest.

Australian Wetlands
Scientific Name
Onychoprion anaethetus
Conservation Status
Least Concern
Body Length
35-41 cm
100-150 g
Number of Eggs
Central America, Coastal Australia, South-east Asia and West Africa
Coastal areas and tropical and sub-tropical seas
Africa, Asia, Australia
extraMile by Integranet